Blessings and grace to you on this lovely April day. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me, I am feeling much better for the first time in many months. I know we serve a prayer answering God, and I thank Him for answering and you for praying.
As we continue our study of Spiritual Gifts, let’s briefly review the passages that we are looking at; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:7-16; Romans 12:3-13; and 1 Corinthians 12:4-14. We looked last week at the general information in 1 Peter, where we saw that there are two main categories of gifts: speaking gifts, and ministry (serving) gifts. We saw that even as they are unique gifts, they are to be exercised as from Him, for Him and to His glory, as ‘good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’
As we continue our pursuit to understand our spiritual gifts, let’s look at some general instructions from the other three passages and then next week we’ll look at the specific gifts and how we might recognize them in their use and function. Romans 12:3-6a “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,”. Ephesians 4:7-8,12 “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men….12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” 1Corinthians 12:4-7 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”
All of these passages are written by Paul and give us a uniform teaching on the ‘gifts’. In Ephesians and Romans we are reminded that “GRACE”–God’s unmerited favor– has supplied these gifts to each one. That each person has received it/them according as God has given the measure of faith (not saving faith but walking around, every-day practical faith, believing God for “living” faith)!! We also see that all don’t have the “SAME” gift!! 1 Corinthians 12 reveals for us that although there are differences/diversities of gifts, administrations, and operations, all are from that same Holy Spirit that is in each born-again believer. We also observe that we are to be humble and think (appraise) soberly of our own value (Phil 2 tells us to think of others better than ourselves)-contrary to the “self-love/esteem” that the world promotes. God calls us to “heavenly” esteem. As Philippians 2:3-9 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” And the words of Christ himself in Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. All of our gifts are to be used, as Paul tells us in the Ephesians passage, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”— for others NOT ourselves!!! Our purpose is to edify (build up) the body of Christ—individually and corporately. Is the benefit of “OTHERS” my primary goal? Am I building up or tearing down? We must all examine our desires, our motives and our goals in life and especially in God’s kingdom work—which should be our “life”.
1 Corinthians 12 tells us something else that is of primary importance, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” The gifts ARE the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s very presence in the life of the believer!!!! If I am saved, 1) I have a gift/gifts; 2) God has given it to me; 3) it is the evidence that the Holy Spirit resides in me. Now there are fillings of varying degrees in our lives throughout our journey, but the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is the “PROOF” that I belong to Christ!!!!!! “Romans 8:9b “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”; 1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” God’s Spirit reveals God to and within us. Our spiritual gifts are the evidence to His body, to those around us, and to the world that God has done a work in our lives. John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” And John 3:5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” !!!!! IT IS GOD who does the saving and keeping, And the very words of Jesus in his high-priestly prayer remind us of our state and our goal, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me”.
So in conclusion, what are you doing for Jesus? Are you thinking of others and how you can help them be built up? Are you exercising your spiritual gift/gifts? Do you know what your spiritual gift is? If not we’ll try to help with that next week. In the mean time study our four passages about the gifts, pray, and ask God to reveal His will and purpose to you, and then walk daily looking for opportunities to see, realize and practice your gift/gifts. Looking “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12) and allowing Him to be seen in us each and every day. Have a blessed week in the Lord and we’ll continue next week, Lord willing. Enjoy the blessings of God’s great and wondrous creation this week.